Purpose In Action: How Toyota Is Driving Growth, Innovation and Impact
Today’s consumers are looking to support brands that make a positive impact in the world and enable them to live a better life. What’s more, the rapid pace of technological advancement coupled with highly competitive markets necessitates business innovation and brand differentiation. As a result, companies that provide mission-driven products and services shape consumer demand, while driving measurable social impact foster goodwill and purchases.
Technology is transforming the way we move and making the world more connected. People are accustomed to ride sharing and electric vehicles, while autonomous vehicles are being rolled out at scale. This connectivity has changed consumer beliefs in regards to ownership and sharing communal assets. It has also set the the bar for environmental standards and technology.
Toyota is an excellent example of a company combining this technology along with design and purpose. The automaker is dedicated to paving the road for the “future of mobility.” This mission acts as a compass, influencing key strategy decisions in branding, product innovation, partnerships and more.
Toyota’s mission makes it more than a car company, it’s a mobility company. Its vision goes beyond shareholder returns and capital bonuses — Toyota is dedicated to literal mobility, social mobility and innovations to drive that growth. This commitment to mobility is in turn activating their purpose and humanizing their brand.
By focusing on mobility, Toyota is positioning itself as a partner in moving the world and expanding into new markets. The need to compete in the automobile market and an articulate mission are pushing Toyota’s innovation. Toyota’s journey offers valuable lessons for purpose- driven business leaders looking to carve out a competitive advantage.
Here’s how Toyota’s mission drives innovation and impact:
Expanding markets: Purpose-driven businesses use their company to address a challenge impacting the world. By creating products that help overcome a problem, you can open opportunities in new markets that relate to your purpose.
Mobility goes beyond cars. Ride sharing applications and transportation solutions like Lyft, Uber, Bird and others make it easier for people to move with no strings attached. The high price tag and rapid obsolescence of today’s automobile market can deter consumers from purchasing a new car. Not to mention insurance, DMV registrations, and maintenance.
People move differently now and Toyota is pivoting to meet demand. The company is launching what they call KINTO, “the new beloved car subscription service for individuals.” In a pilot project planned for Tokyo in 2019, Toyota will release a flat rate monthly subscription that will allow people to utilize a variety of vehicles for an unlimited time.
While consumer preferences are changing, Toyota hopes to fan the flames of car fandom. KINTO allows customers to select their transportation based on their needs, removing the responsibility of maintenance, registration and other duties that come with owning a car. Customers will also be able to try out different cars and enjoy more freedom associated with mobility. KINTO will also award good samaritans that practice safe and environmentally friendly transportation.
By focusing on mobility, Toyota is expanding its business to car-sharing. The lesson here is that to drive innovation with purpose you must identify what people need, what’s holding them back and how your company can help others live better.
New Partnerships: By committing to a higher purpose, you can increase partnership opportunities with other organizations working towards a similar goal.
To drive innovation with the aim of advancing mobility, Toyota is partnering with SoftBank. SoftBank, with a specialty in artificial intelligence, and Toyota, with a long history of transportation solutions, will release a joint venture called Monet Technologies Corp. The partnership will focus on delivery services, portable medical treatment, on-demand vehicles and data assessment. They also have plans to release autonomous delivery services by 2020.
This is a pivotal point in transportation history. The market is changing and automakers, as well as technology companies, are competing for the leading spot in self-driving cars and related services as well as car sharing and electric vehicles. Partnerships that transform mobility in the 21st century and beyond will carve out a competitive advantage and make a contribution to humanity. Essentially, by making partnerships that will accelerate your mission and increase your competitive edge, you can achieve more in terms of innovation and meaningful impact.
Products with purpose: To build both social impact and the bottom line, you must weave purpose into product development. Toyota has been driving innovation for years, rolling out Hybrid Synergy Drives technology and the Prius, which set the standard for hybrid cars and has continued to innovate ever since.
In a recent recent purposeful initiative, Toyota combined a mission-driven campaign with product innovation to showcase both its technological capabilities and social impact. As part of its partnership with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, Toyota’s Mobility For All campaign focused on “giving all of humankind the freedom to move.” In the campaign, Toyota released prototype concepts that would both advance paraplegic’s ability to move in the world and contribute to the progress of mobility overall. For example, CONCEPT i RIDE is an mass transportation vehicle that features gull wing doors controlled by a joystick. Toyota also showcased TOYOTA CONCEPT- i, a-self driving car, and FINE-COMFORT RIDE, a hydrogen vehicle. What’s more, Toyota presented handicapped specific products like the Human Support Robot, which has robotic arms and voice controls, and iBOT, a wheelchair that moves people around at eye level. Essentially, Toyota combined social good with technological expertise and inspirational storytelling to create life changing product innovations that grab consumer attention.
By being a mission with a company, rather than a company with a mission, you can leverage your brand to solve problems for individuals and the world. In turn, you can gain insights into products and services that push the boundaries of what’s possible, grow your business and build a better world.